Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly review
It Should Have Been Great


Back in the mists of time, Spyro was quite different. After three spectacular games, Spyro took the same leap as then-rival Crash Bandicoot into the generation. And, like the bandicoot, it didn't quite work at first...

Picking up where Year of the Dragon left off with the purple lizard returning home to a hero's welcome. He's just rescued the dragon spawn from being turned into spell ingredients by a necrophobic alligator (well, I think it was an alligator) and everyone's happy. But of course, someone turns up to spoil the fun. It's old Ripto, apparently still alive despite his fiery death at the climax of Gateway to Glimmer. Having staged a survivalist comeback Liquid Snake would struggle with, he comes up with a new scheme. He's nicked the dragonflies which the baby dragons were supposed to receive, and now Spyro has to recover them.

Visually, the game is impressive. Enter the Dragonfly looks a treat. Palm trees sway in the background, Spyro's attacks make fading imprints, volcanoes erupt. It really does look nice. The limited voice acting is nice and the music's appropriate. But then it moves. Enter the Dragonfly seems to struggle in parts to keep the frame rate up, making it difficult to play. This unfortunately happens quite a bit, ruining what could be good levels.

The controls are reasonable, and it plays a lot like the previous games. He can still jump, dash, glide and all the other main moves. That said, they don't feel quite as nice as in previous games. Spyro has four breaths at his disposal - fire, ice, electric and bubble. Yes, bubble. That's what he captures dragonflies with. Ice breath freezes enemies and turns them into platforms. Electric breath activates gadgets. It feels as if it's part of the game and not just something tacked on. The mini-games are relatively varied. On offer are tank segments and piloting a Spitfire - a decent pun, perhaps, if nothing else. The vehicles handle surprisingly well. Also on offer are "speedway" rounds, which are quite similar to those in previous games. There are also platforming puzzles, some of which with a Jak & Daxter (the first one) feel.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment, though, is the small size of the game. Don't get me wrong, the lone home world is massive, as are the other levels. But there's a shortage of them. The game features a grand total of ten levels, including that one. At least they're varied. Among the locales on offer are a farm being invaded by aliens, a tropical island, a volcanic ruin and a freezing mountain populated by monkeys (whether that's a subtly clever attempt at some adult humour, I'm not quite certain). The game features one boss, although it does try to artificially lengthen the game by forcing you to fight him more than once. Another big gripe is that the loading times are absolutely abysmal on the PS2 version, and even they seem to visibly struggle to keep the frame rate up. Even if you don't mind a game that's short or takes an age to load, there's one other problem. The glitches. There are many glitches, and they seem to be random. One of the most common glitches is where it freezes altogether. That's a major gaffe which can really spoil the game.

Enter the Dragonfly is a game which should have been good, but isn't. The fun factor is battered by the glitchy nature of the game. Despite the lush visuals and great voice acting, the glitchy gameplay and rubbish loading times just destroy it. If you're a kid or a fan or both, play the excellent A Hero's Tail instead. Either way, avoid this unless you like glitchy games.

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